Best Diving sites in Similan Islands

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If you have dived in Similan Islands before, please share your experiences: Dive spots you would recommend, which Dive Center you used, Fishes & Diving, Visibility, Currents, etc. Please post your comments in the section below, by doing so you will help fellow divers to plan their next trip ;)

Scuba Diving inside the Similan National park is the best diving in Thailand and one of the best in the world. There are numerous excellent dive sites. The fauna is very rich and you will spot, in addition to the usual reef fishes, many blacktip and Whitetip reef sharks. Leopard sharks are also very common in the marine reserve. The reef life is teeming with trigger fishes, unicornfishes and many other colourful fishes. Always keep an eye out for the pelagic fishes like barracudas and giant trevallies patrolling the area.

If you are lucky you can spot Manta rays flying around and even the biggest fish in the world the mythical Whale Shark!

The coral is also in great shape with a lot of table corals and staghorn coral. Soft coral is everywhere and very colourful. Most of the dive sites are filled with huge granite boulders which offer a fantastic playground for divers.

The most famous dive sites of the Similans are Elephant head rock and Christmas point. They both offer amazing underwater topography with many swim-through and very rich fauna.

In addition, the Similans are very popular for underwater photography. The clear water, superb coral, rich fauna and the interesting topography will give you great photo opportunities on every dive site! Moreover you will find many macro subjects like Nudibranchs are all kind of small creatures.

Update September 2011: the dive site East of Eden is closed for coral regeneration as well as Islands number one, two and three.

In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Similan Islands.

Photos Similan Islands

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How to dive Similan Islands?

Similan Islands are only accessible by liveaboard. You will cruise for 4 days to two weeks around this superb marine national park.

Read our article about the best Liveaboards in the Similan Archipelago.

It is possible in the same trip to also explore the Surin Islands marine reserve and the world famous dive site Richelieu Rock located a bit further North. Most of the Liveaboard leave from the city of Khao Lak situated North of Phuket. The Similan archipelago is situated only 50 km west. There are also Liveaboard leaving directly from Phuket and Ko Lanta. There are many liveboard options suitable for all budgets from the backpacker style to the luxury ones with private suite.

It is also possible to reach the Similans during a day trip from Khao Lak or Phuket but it will be a big day with more than 90 km to cover!

Another option is to camp on the islands. In some places tents and bungalow can be rented. You have to ask first to the National park headquarters in Taplamu or in a travel agency.

Hot tips

  • These islands are a very popular diving destination, so be sure to book your trip in advance!
  • In addition to your trip, you will also have to pay a national park entry fee of 400 Baht per person plus 200 Baht diving fee per day.

Similans Reef Beach

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmangum/3416076485/

Where to stay?

I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Similan Islands as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.

Best time to dive in Similan Islands

The national park is open from November 1st to April 30 but most of the liveaboards operate only from October to May. The best diving conditions occur in March with the best visibility and almost no wind.

Hot tip

  • The peak diving season runs during the dry season from December to April. During this period you should book your Liveaboard well in advance!

Top liveaboards in Similan Islands according to divers reviews

Scuba Diving conditions

Diving conditions are usually very good with moderate current and good to very good visibility. Depending on the season it can range from 20 to 40 meters.

Water temperature is between 27°C to 30°C and you normally don’t even need a full wet suit.

Dive sites around the archipelago are suitable for divers from open water to divemasters and most of the diving is easy and quite shallow.

Diving Safety

If you are planning an upcoming dive trip or travelling to Similan Islands, it is a really good idea to invest in travel insurance for scuba diving, because you never know what could happen and when you might need it (because accidents do happen!). I recommend this diving insurance as they offer worldwide coverage and focus on providing scuba divers a quality insurance and medical assistance service.

Travel Guide

Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Similan Islands Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.

Diving Reviews for this region

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Dive spots reviews in Similan Islands

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Anita's reef is one of the best dive site of the Similan Islands. The topography at the bottom is outstanding with a hug...
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Elephant head dive site is the most famous spot of the Similan Islands. The name comes from the shape of the rock at the...
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The Fantasea Reef dive site is one of the best spots of the Similan archipelago. It is located a bit offshore off the we...
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Beacon point dive site offers the chance to spot many stingrays, reef sharks and also the beautiful leopard shark. It is...
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The Hide Away Bay dive site is located a bit further South West of Anita's reef. It is sometimes called Barracuda Point....
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Christmas Point dive site in the Similans consists of large rocks and a nice drop off. It is a good spot to observe whit...
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East of Eden dive site is one of the Top dive spots of the Similan Islands! The coral formations are amazing with a real...
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The West of Eden dive site in the Similan Islands is located just west of the famous and popular East of Eden dive site....
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Eastern Shallows diving site is located of the south side of the Similan Island numer 1. The maximum depth is around 24 ...
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Coral Gardens dive site is located on the South Side of Similan Island number 1. Like the name says, it is a very shallo...

Liveaboard Reviews in Similan Islands

The Junk

A unique experience, The Junk “June Chia … Continue reading

The Junk Liveaboard Review

Andaman Tritan

The 24.5 meters Andaman Tritan is a live … Continue reading

Andaman Tritan Liveaboard Review

MV Pawara

MV Pawara is a liveaboard owned by West … Continue reading

MV Pawara Liveaboard Review

Manta Queen 3

The Manta Queen 3 is a 36 meters liveabo … Continue reading

Manta Queen 3 Liveaboard Review

Manta Queen 5

The 23 meters Manta Queen 5 explores the … Continue reading

Manta Queen 5 Liveaboard Review

MV Panunee

MV Panunee Yacht is one of the most popu … Continue reading

MV Panunee Liveaboard Review

MV Giamani

The MV Giamani is owned by Colona Liveab … Continue reading

MV Giamani Liveaboard Review

Manta Queen 6

The 25 meters Manta Queen 6 is another g … Continue reading

Manta Queen 6 Liveaboard Review

Diving centers in Similan Islands

No dive centers found

24 dive logs in “Similan Islands

  1. Hello,
    we’ve found your diving centre via Internet. We are in Thailand since few days till about 20th of Aug and we would like to dive a little bit. Now we are staying in Ranong but we are able to transfer ourselves to Similans. Both of us are certfificated divers (PADI Rescue Diver and Deep Diver)in cold polish lakes so visibility under one meter is not frightened :).

    We are aware this is not a high season but it will be great if you are able to offer us some nice divings (with turtles for example :) ) in nearby to Surin Islands in reasonable price. I will be greatful with your answer.

    KR
    Gabi
    0048500477007

  2. Hi, I am looking to do the open water course at Similian island site end of this august. Above you have mentioned that the diving season is from Sep end to April. Can we still go during aug end?

    • History of ear problems and scuba dinivg?Hi, I want to start scuba dinivg but I have a history of ear problems and I’m worried I won’t be able to. I did a try dive today and that was fine, but I don’t want to invest loads in dinivg if it turns out I can’t dive very deep or that I’ll get ear infections so often I’ll miss out on loads of dives.I get ear infections quite a lot and (possibly TMI) tend to get lots of waxy buildup so that occasionally I can’t hear very well in one ear. I’ve also been told that my ear canals (or whatever they’re called) are very narrow. However my ears are fine on a plane, and don’t hurt at all when ascending or descending.Am I going to be able to scuba dive? Please help because sign up for the course is in two days >_

      • If you did a dive today you can probably dive, even if your canals may be more narrow. Always equalize slowly, this is the mail reason people get ear problems. They descend too quickly. ONe day I can descend quicker than the other, so I listen to my ears very carefully. Mostly of the time I do it the other way around :) Clean your ears with water pressure instead of cottonsticks. Have a good dive!

  3. I have never scuba dive, and is hoping to get certified when I visit the Similan Islands. Just wondering if you can advise me if the islands is a good place for beginners like me. Thanks so much in advance.

    Dawn

    • If you are a beginner, it’s heaven! Good conditions, good visibility, easy diving. Koh tao is nice as well, cute little island close to koh samui. Diving is cheaper on Koh Tao but Similan is more attractive. Enjoy!

  4. We dived with Wicked divers, excellent diving school. We did a three day liveaboard and the staff and service was wicked (costs around 450 euro for 10 dives and equipment). You can bargain a little so try :)
    The tsunami and coral bleaching did change the Similan islands though; the islands are stunning but the diving is not as I remembered because of less beautiful colors….. visibility is great, we saw turtles and other nice things. I’m sure within 20 years it will be back in the top ten best dive sites in the world, but for now I prefer Marsa alam, Red sea.

  5. The Similan islands are wonderfull, specially the norh part from island number 7 to the surin islands!!
    Liveaboard recommmended khao Lak Explorer Liveaboards

  6. Hi!
    First of all, great blog!
    We are located in Singapore and looking for a place in the area (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines) to go diving. We did our PADI open water and have gone diving once since (Tioman and Dayang Island Malaysia).

    So I consider us quite beginners.
    I read on other sites that Similan is more for advanced divers.. would you agree? And if so, is it still the best place to go diving if we cannot decent much lower than 18meters?

    I don’t want to end up going to lesser diving spots, making Similan not the best chose after all. E.g. I was comparing to Koh Tao as it’s claimed to be easier (less currents)..

    So many options and opinions – help :)!

    Cheers
    Doris

  7. Hola!

    In February we’re going to Thailand and so we’d love to dive in the Similan Islands… But, how should we book the trip? Is it easy to book a trip in Thailand or is it better if we do this in advance? And could you recommend a good tour operator or a life aboard? We’ll be very thankful for answers :)

    Saludos!

    • You can walk in Any diveshop there! So in advance is not necessary….and you can try to get a little discount :) we dove with wicked diving, the live a board was great. Good staff en superior food. The coral has bleached though, so I remember koh similar as more colorful and more impressive. But it’s still nice!

    • From krabi, go to khao lak. This is where you’ll find wicked divers. From krabi to khan lak will take about 4 hours and will cost around 500-600 baht. You can also go with local bus. The islands are beautiful, but the coral has bleached and was damaged by the tsunami. It’s still good diving though, but not as it used to be

    • Richelieu rock is prettig close to the islands, and it’s a great dive. If you get the chance to visit the bigger islands, do it. It’s really nice! Enjoy!!!

      • Hi,
        I am planning on beginning scuba in Similan Islands during a few days of an upcoming trip.
        I will be travelling alone. Any suggestions, pointers, things to look out for? Thanks

  8. Hi,
    I am planning on beginning scuba in Similan Islands during a few days of an upcoming trip.
    I will be travelling alone. Any suggestions, pointers, things to look out for? Thanks

  9. Hi

    Looking for 3 or 4 days diving between 24/4/15 to the 2/5/15 for 1 person

    Liveaboard Similans

    The cheapest u can find

  10. Pingback: Top 10 Dives: Best Diving in the World | Clevaster-Study to Learn

  11. Hi guys,

    My wife and i plan to visit both Koh Surin/Similan next february 2016. it will be very kind if you could share your feelings and feedbacks about what you have seen during yours serverals dives.
    i’m looking forward to read you.
    thks,

  12. I am coming to Phuket to get married on Jan 20 2017, I plan to stay there for a week or two.

    I am an beginner PADI open water. logged only 12 dives so far (Canada, Australia , Phi Phi, Honduras, Grand Cayman Island, Cuba, 2 dives at each site).

    I plan to dive in Simian island and have a few questions:

    1) I heard to dive in Simian island, you need to be intermediate diver and have at least 50 dives, is that true?

    2) I heard west side is choppy and more difficult, east side is calm.
    Is there any packages that can cover only the easy calm areas?

    3) Because my wife won’t dive, I may only be able to do a one night live aboard, can one night package cover all the easy calm areas?
    Both us can get sea sick, how is the sea condition for live aboard in around Jan 25? will it make a huge difference if we wait until Feb 1?

    4) If we book a hotel on Simian island, can we do just the day trips and provide roughly the same coverage as live aboard? (how long is the travel time)

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Have you dived in Similan Islands?

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